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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

Hard Drive clicking


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jobborrow

 
Member Since: Mar 24, 2008
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Hi

I recently installed a WD Scorpio Blue 320GB 5400 HD in my MBP Unibody 13". It all works fine, I have, however, noticed a periodic clicking sound that wasn't there before. Having done a bit of research I read that people believe this to be the head parking of the HD. There seems to be an apple HD firmware update for this issue, but it says it's for 7200 HDs not 5400. There is an app that is meant to help called hdapm, although that sounds messy to install and if I understand it correctly, it stops the HD from.... err stopping?! Is that a good thing? Is there a firmware update for 5400 HDs? Should I just ignore the sound? It's not that loud and happens every 15 (ish) seconds. Should I attempt the tricky install of hdapm? I've read that some MBPs would not sleep properly after the hdapm install? If that was the case, can I uninstall it easily, since you have to use terminal and all kind of command line to install it?

Sorry for all the difficult questions, but if anyone has any experience of this, I'd appreciate some info.

Thanks
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ticedoff8

 
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I don't know what it is, but you can bet your HD is not going to sleep every 15 seconds.

While it may actually be the head parking itself after 15 seconds, I would expect it to happen only when the system is idle - not while you are using it. AND, once parked, it would re-park itself again in 15 seconds.
And, parking the head is handled by the HD bios, not the MB. So, I doubt very seriously there is anything you can do at the MB (updating hdapm) level that would change that.

I wouldn't update the firmware just because of the clicking. I can't see how this is a HD sleep problem - and from your description, it doesn't sound like you are too comfortable with the process.

As odd as this sounds, are you SURE it's the HD? Maybe you are getting a click from the speakers on your MB. If you plug in a set of headphones, you can at least rule this out.
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jobborrow

 
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Very sure it's the HD, read here My Mac Fixes: "How Do I Stop the Clicking Noise from the Hard Drive of My MacBook or Mac Mini?" In fact if you google it everyone's talking about it.

You're right I don't feel 100% about this process, but if the head is constantly parking the HD will have a very limited life span to what it should have, and from what I read ALL over the net it is the parking head that's causing the noise.

I don't know what to do at the moment really. I would happily try the method I mentioned above, but I would like to know how to reverse it if I don't like it.
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jobborrow

 
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This thing is twisting me in knots now! My HDD is definitely making a periodic click, I've done some digging and got some stats together:

My load cycle details are as follows: 0X0032 4202 in 56 hours use. I'm not sure if 4202 in 56 hours is good or bad, all I can say is an hour ago it was 4154 so in an hour it's clocked almost 50 load cycles when I haven't been writing anything to the disk, just idling, is this OK?
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pmurray633

 
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job, ever since i put SL on my MBP, my HD has been clicking as well, whether im using it, or if it is sitting idle it does it...
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jobborrow

 
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yep, and as you hear that clicking, it's clocking up load cycles and bringing the HDD to an early grave! (As far as I understand it)

I've tried really hard to install that hdapm, I simply can't do it. I just can't work out how to make it work even though I am following the instructions....

Really ****** off with this now.
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thomas998

 
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Is it possible that it is caused by a lack of power to the hard drive? I know when I use WD external hard drives I have to use very short USB cables or use a special cable that plugs into two USB ports on the computer to increase the amount of power it gets. If I don't do that it will either not have enough power to work and clicks alot or will work but still clicks... if I use the shorter cables or special cables it works perfectly.

So is it possible that the WD hard drive just needs a little more power and maybe that little bit more is more than the motherboard gives it?
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jobborrow

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas998 View Post
Is it possible that it is caused by a lack of power to the hard drive? I know when I use WD external hard drives I have to use very short USB cables or use a special cable that plugs into two USB ports on the computer to increase the amount of power it gets. If I don't do that it will either not have enough power to work and clicks alot or will work but still clicks... if I use the shorter cables or special cables it works perfectly.

So is it possible that the WD hard drive just needs a little more power and maybe that little bit more is more than the motherboard gives it?
No, I don't think so. I've installed an app to look at how many Load Cycles I'm clocking, it's 100 an hour when I'm not writing to the disk. I know what you're talking about with power and clicking, think about it, if I didn't have enough power to the drive the system wouldn't even boot since I am referring to the boot drive here. The issue is over aggressive power saving causing the drive head to park.

If anyone can help me install hdapm I'd appreciate it, I have tried so many methods and I just can't do it.
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chscag

 
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Quote:
No, I don't think so. I've installed an app to look at how many Load Cycles I'm clocking, it's 100 an hour when I'm not writing to the disk. I know what you're talking about with power and clicking, think about it, if I didn't have enough power to the drive the system wouldn't even boot since I am referring to the boot drive here. The issue is over aggressive power saving causing the drive head to park.

If anyone can help me install hdapm I'd appreciate it, I have tried so many methods and I just can't do it.
Take a look at this thread from the Fedora forum. LINK

Especially note the last reply. He provides a link to a BASH script which should resolve the problem you're having. I downloaded the script and double clicked on the archive. It creates a folder called "wdsaver2".

The folder contains the executable script, text file, and source. Give the script a try. But also keep an eye on the HDD temperatures to make sure they're not being exceeded. If the script doesn't resolve your problem, I would remove the drive and send it back. Buy a 7200 RPM version instead or a Seagate drive.

Let us know how it went.

Regards.
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jobborrow

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
Take a look at this thread from the Fedora forum. LINK

Especially note the last reply. He provides a link to a BASH script which should resolve the problem you're having. I downloaded the script and double clicked on the archive. It creates a folder called "wdsaver2".

The folder contains the executable script, text file, and source. Give the script a try. But also keep an eye on the HDD temperatures to make sure they're not being exceeded. If the script doesn't resolve your problem, I would remove the drive and send it back. Buy a 7200 RPM version instead or a Seagate drive.

Let us know how it went.

Regards.
Thanks for this advice. In the end I made a decision to put the drive back in that I got with the MBP for now, it's too small, it's only 160GB and I really need more, but I had clocked nearly 7000 cycle loads in 37 hours of play!!! Way too much, looking at the stats for the drive apple supplied I am at 6909 after 125 hours, which isn't low, but much lower than what I was getting. There aren't frequent clicks with this drive as it idles.

I will be getting a new drive, but I worried now! How will I know that the drive I'm getting won't clock up the same? I thought I would just go to apple and buy a drive, but then I realized they don't seem to sell them???

I know a bloke who runs an apple service business, I'm going to call him tomorrow and see if he's got a real 'apple-tampered-with' drive. There must be a firmware of something on the drives that eliminates this problem, so either a drive made for a MBP or a drive that is recommended by those in the know when it comes to head parking is a must. To be fair most people haven't looked into it all that deeply.

I will check the link you put up, but to be honest, I don't like the idea of turning my disk up to max and risking heat. I know that's the same as the hdapm thing. I think I would rather get a drive that definitely won't do this overzealous head parking. The other issue is I've paid money for a notebook that can last up to 7 hours on battery, so why would I want to do something to it that will reduce what I've paid for. I'm very irritated about this. I love my Mac but I feel we've all paid too much money for our machines to be left out in the cold on this issue, or any issue. The amount of info there is about this on the net that an idiot like me can find, means apple (clever people) must know about it, so why don't they address it?

If anyone knows EXACTLY what drive doesn't over head park on unibody MBPs, let me know.

I will post my findings back here, thanks to all those who chipped in.
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